Literature and Society

The puritan belief system grouped together their religion and government.   In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, this pairing of church and state is made quite apparent.   The governor in the novel is rarely, if ever, seen without Reverend Dimmesdale and several others of their elite grouping.   It’s almost a system of checks and balances; a decision pertaining to the government of the town cannot be made without reference to the clergy and its opinion on the matter.  
“Good Master Dimmesdale…the responsibility of this woman’s soul lies greatly with you.   It behooves you, therefore, to exhort her to repentance, and confession, as a proof and consequence thereof.” (Hawthorne, 58).   Governor Bellingham announces this to the young reverend in front of the entire town.   He is encouraging the Dimmesdale to convince Hester Prynne to announce the man they call her “fellow adulterer”.   The young woman is being jailed and punished by the government, but the leader looks to the minister for help.   Also, Hester is being persecuted for breaking one of the Ten Commandments, which are written in the bible, not for government means.   This in itself shows the clear relationship of church and government affairs in the puritan world.  
“Good Master Wilson, I pray you, examine the Pearl,--since that is her name,--and see whether she hath had such Christian nurture as befits a child of her age.”   (Hawthorne, 100).   This is also said by Governor Bellingham later in the novel.   He is coaxing another reverend into determining whether Hester’s daughter Pearl should remain in her care.   The connection between religion and government is so important in this novel and in the puritan way of life that they ask the child questions about God to determine something as serious as who will be her guardian.  
The puritan ideals are greatly acknowledged in The Scarlet Letter.   Their coupling of church and state is repeatedly brought to the reader’s attention upon reading the novel....